There is more on the line than a playoff berth tonight in Oakland for the Nuggets.
Whoever wins this game will probably be about a 95% lock to make the postseason. So why are George Karl and Carmelo Anthony talking about how they can still make the playoffs even if they lose tonight? Part of me wants them to lose just to find out how slim their chances have to be to make the playoffs before they start labeling games as "Must Win!"
To set the stage for what must happen if Denver cannot win tonight, they will have to win Saturday in Utah and Sunday at home against Houston just to make Wednesday’s season finale against Memphis mean something. They also have to hope that Golden State loses in Phoenix on Monday, which I would say is trending towards likely at this point. What is unlikely is Denver winning at Utah.
On the other hand, Golden State has an even smaller chance to make it than the Nuggets do should they lose tonight. That little smidgen of wiggle room the Nuggets seem to be giving themselves might give the Warriors yet another advantage on top of playing on their home court.
Anyway, back to the task at hand. Warrior fans are worried about the early start time (5:00 PM Pacific) due to the fact that for some reason TNT wants to show us the Lakers and Clippers later tonight. I do not think it will be any concern on behalf of the players as they will not need any help getting motivated to play tonight. The fans may not all be in their seats by gametime, but they will be there in full force in the second half when the Warriors may need a little boost.
The other concern about the odd start time is that it will through their regular game day schedule off, but again, I do not see that having any impact on a contest of this magnitude.
Both of these teams feed off of scoring and both feed off of forcing turnovers. Both seek to score at a nonstop clip and try to play a little defense in the fourth quarter. Both have players that provide difficult matchups for the other.
I think, as some commenters have suggested, the stars are all going to play well tonight. The difference will probably be a J.R. Smith or Keleena Azibuike doing something right or doing something very wrong.
This is it. In all honesty, I think this game is a toss up. Leave your comments and thoughts before, during and after the game and check out Golden State of Mind for some insight from the Warriors point of view.
By the way, sorry this was late getting posted. Apparently a big T3 line was cut in Denver and we did not have Internet access for a while this afternoon.